Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Nishioka and Blaine Gabbert

Posted by: Jim Souhan under All-Stars and honors, Professional baseball, Ron Gardenhire, Target Field, Twins fans, Twins management, Twins offense, Twins transactions, Vikings, NFL draft, Vikings offense Updated: February 27, 2011 - 9:17 PM


I spoke with Missouri product and Twins pitching prospect Kyle Gibson about Missouri product Blaine Gabbert, who could be the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft...and could, possibly, wind up with the Vikings next season.

Yes, I'm a Missouri Journalism School grad. Deal with it. Also, consider this context: The Twins rave about Gibson's personality and work ethic, so he has some credibility here.

``Blaine works so hard,'' Gibson said. ``He was there my junior year as a backup, then the last two years he's been the guy. He gets after it.

``He knows his stuff, and from what i’ve heard he’s a great team guy, a great leader on the field. I think people will realize how athletic he is. He's a pocket passer who can do it all.

Did they work out together?

``Our teams were on different schedules,'' Gibson said. ``But we always saw him in the athletic dining hall and he's just a nice guy. He just goes about his business and he doesn't think he's any better than anybody else on the team and he pushes eveyrbody. He'll be the first one to take the blame, and he’ll be the first one to jump into the drills and do the dirty work. He's a good one.''

-First impression of Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who made his Twins spring debut on Sunday and went 1-for-3 with an RBI single:

He's really fast. He is agile - he made sliding plays to his forehand and backhand. While he's certainly not a power hitter, he squared the ball up off Josh Beckett, hitting a hard grounder to short, and he's beginning to look more comfortable even in batting practice.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he teases Nishioka like a rookie but treats him like a veteran. You can tell that Gardenhire is hyper-aware of the Japanese media here to cover Nishioka, and wants to make sure he is respectful of Nishioka and Japanese baseball.

-Twins won 8-4 on Sunday, and I spoke with Carl Pavano about being drafted by the Red Sox 17 years ago and flying to Fort Myers to start his career. Pavano was good on the subject, and that's the subject of my Monday column. It's amazing that this guy, who has been so responsible and such a leader since the Twins acquired him, was such a pariah in New York.

-Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 Monday through Friday from Fort Myers. I'll also be on with Joe Anderson tomorrow night at about 6:15. If you missed Sunday Morning Sports Talk today, you missed Tom Pelissero and myself running a packed show, with me in Fort Myers covering the Twins and Tom in Indy covering the Vikings and the NFL combine. Twins general manager Bill Smith and 1500espn Wolves writer Dana Wessel were our guests.

I'll be with the Twins at Boston's park tomorrow for Game 2 of the spring schedule. Nick Blackburn starts for the Twins. I sense Blackburn, with his elbow cleaned out and his head clear, is going to have a good season.



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